Lessons I learned in a time of crisis

In business, there are bright days, there are beige days and then there are days that are every colour under the sun, tinged with black chaos. These sorts of days cannot be planned for and they’re not on any other business owner’s list of crisis management scenarios. In fact, they’re not even a consideration; that’s because this type of chaos is completely individual.

While you might not ever experience the exact combination of events I navigated last week, there will be a time when your personal life and business life collide with such force, you wonder if you will ever get back on track.

In a nutshell:

  1. We had to cancel our holiday because my eldest son tested positive for Covid
  2. I was still recovering from the aftereffects of Covid (and was overdue a rest)
  3. My youngest son, who has a genetic condition that causes tumours to grow along his nerves and results in regular illnesses, had to have an emergency operation (he’s absolutely fine now and recovering well).

One of the above events in isolation would have been fine, but the quick succession of all three, took my breath away.

However, in times like these, I remember that I’m here today having navigated every single chaos that has threatened to turn my world upside down.

They say the greater the storm, the brighter the rainbow and one way I make mine brighter than most, is to reflect on what the situation taught me.

  1. Self-employment was the right path for me.

The freedom self-employment has given was essential in my time of need; it meant I have been able to work around the unexpected without the stress or anxiety of having to ask for time off or make up hours. I have chosen a working life that meant I could stop at a moment’s notice. I was there for my family as we battled the chaos together and not in shifts. This wouldn’t have been possible in a corporate job where I might have learned to rank the demands of ‘dedication’ far above the demands of my heart.

  1. It’s okay to ask for help

While it isn’t always easy to ask for help, it’s sometimes the only way. Chaos pulls you away from all the plates you’ve been spinning and sometimes you need people to keep the momentum going in your absence. It’s the only way, if you don’t want them to smash. Whether it is asking someone to take care of the dog, cook a few meals and put them in your freezer or simply postpone a meeting, you will find that support and empathy is there in abundance if you just reach out for it.

  1. Surround yourself with a fantastic team

While I am self-employed and have no employees, I do have a team of freelancers that I outsource work to. Every single one of them was sympathetic and accommodated my absence because they are professionals. I didn’t have to micromanage anything. They knew exactly what they needed to do, and they knew exactly how to support me as both a business owner and a mother who needed to be with her family.

Having this team of freelancers around me was the comfort I needed and allowed me to free that space in my brain reserved for business and fill it with the stuff that really mattered in that moment. I didn’t have to divide my time between home and work. I simply let go of Philippa the CEO and became Philippa, mother, and wife.

Don’t be fooled – none of the above was easy. It was just possible and reflecting back has made me appreciate the business path I’ve taken even more.